Fisher Body #21 made plane parts in World War II, served as a homeless shelter during the Great Depression, made Cadillacs, Buicks, ambulances, busses, and even paint. What is left of this place, besides some stories and graffiti?
On December 16th, 2011, the last Ford Ranger standard truck left the assembly line and paint shop and not long afterward the doors were chained and locked. Then it was my turn.
Known more for its afterlife of arson and anarchy, it insists to exist. It built cars between 1903 and 1958, only taking breaks to help America win its wars. Since then it has become an icon of America’s manufacturing decline.
South Bend, Indiana is a kind of graveyard that one only finds in the Rust Belt, where the headstones are blast furnaces and the only people who visit look for something left behind. Here lies Studebaker, a dead American car company.
Since the 1890s, little has changed on North First Street. The Twohy and Osborn buildings have survived a century just a block off the beaten path, just out of sight of downtown. A few good stories hide there; these are some of them.